The City of Philadelphia has yet again taken action against a City contractor – William Betz Jr. Inc., a plumbing supply firm – for violation of the City’s minority contracting program and anti-discrimination policy (now re-authorized in Executive Order No. 3-12). This is the third enforcement action taken by the City this year. My posts on the City’s earlier enforcement actions can be found here and here.
The City and the Betz firm signed a “no-fault” agreement under which the firm agreed not to participate on City contracts for two years, effective October 23, 2012, essentially a two-year debarment. The City found that the Betz firm had committed violations on at least 15 City contracts. The agreement resulted from debarment proceedings which were instituted by the City earlier this year and which stemmed from a claim by the City that the Betz firm had colluded with two other firms to make it appear that a City-certified minority vendor had provided equipment and supplies for a government-funded weatherization project when the minority vendor was paid only for the use of its name and minority certification. As part of its agreement with the City, the Betz firm also agreed to pay the City $128,000 within 90 days.
As I have stated previously, if you are a City contractor or supplier and you think you can evade the City’s M/W/DSBE contracting requirements, think again! There is very good chance that you will get caught eventually, and, when that happens, you will likely pay a hefty price. Don’t make that mistake. Get sound legal advice before you proceed down a path of no return and potential debarment and significant fines.
The City’s full press release on its agreement with the Betz firm can be found here.